UPDATE (07 Oct 2021): Google is also now including the carbon emissions from flights in search results
How do you skip through the greenwash when making your travel choices?
Possibly it will be easier now Google has confirmed that hotels that have met certain sustainability standards, with accreditation from organisations such as Green Key or EarthCheck, will have an eco-certified badge displayed next to their name in searches.
EarthCheck is one of the highest threshold eco credentials Google will recognise. Created in 2000 by Australia’s Sustainable Tourism Co-operative Research Centre, their system is constantly updated according to the latest research.
Working with brands like Hilton and Accor
According to Google, it is working with hotels around the world, including the global chains of Hilton and Accor, to gather sustainability information for each property.
At the same time, it is encouraging hotels to add relevant sustainability information to their ‘My Business’ profiles on Google.
The ‘About’ tab will detail each property’s eco-friendly practices, such as water conservation efforts or sustainable sourcing policies.
— Google (@Google) September 22, 2021
Google joining Travalyst
In addition, Google is joining Travalyst, the sustainable travel coalition, a move described by the organisation as a “significant step forward” in bringing global providers together on “sustainability initiatives that drive system change.”
Travalyst was launched in 2019 by Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex . Other companies participating include Booking.com, Skyscanner, Trip.com, Tripadvisor and Visa.
Developing a standard model to calculate carbon emissions for travel
Google will work with the other partners to help develop a standard model for calculating and displaying carbon emissions from travel to and stays at hotels.
Kate Brandt, chief sustainability officer at Google, said:
“Addressing the challenge of climate change requires us to find solutions at scale, and this is especially true when it comes to travel and tourism. We aim to build tools and technology that enable travellers and businesses around the world to prioritize sustainability.”
Google has built a team of engineers, designers and researchers who are all dedicated to working on sustainability solutions for travel.